Energy shot sales are up, but competition in the segment remains fierce from a bevy of new product innovations as well as from energy drinks.
Energy shots had a strong year in 2021, and while their growth in sales should continue in 2022, that pace is expected to slow to the 4-8% range, according to Management Science Associates InfoMetrics data.
The convenience store channel saw sales of energy shots of nearly $641 million, an 8.8% rise for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 26, 2021, according to IRI. That’s a strong rebound after last year when the pandemic caused energy shots in convenience to fall 12.2% for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 27, 2020, per IRI.
Living Essentials Marketing LLC’s 5-hour Energy brand accounted for the lion’s share of energy shot sales in 2021, with sales just under $578 million, a gain of 10.5%. The next-largest brands in sales were Tweaker at just under $25 million, down 4.5% year to year, and VPX at $17 million, up 18.9%, according to IRI.
“The non-alcoholic shots category has begun to splinter,” said Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for Beverage Marketing Corp. in New York City. “Energy is the dominant shot, but we’ve seen more coffee, juice and tea shots in recent years. While some shots offer an energy boost, others offer health and wellness.”
Despite new entries into the market, traditional energy shots remain popular with consumers, but the segment has been overshadowed in recent years by energy drinks, which are showing greater growth, Hemphill said.
Indeed, last October Living Essentials launched its own carbonated energy beverage in a 16-ounce can, a move that CEO and founder Manoj Bhargava referred to as a ‘natural progression.’ The line is available in three flavors: berry, grape and watermelon.
Energy shot sales have been flat at Baltimore-based High’s, which operates more than 54 c-stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“We think many customers have switched to energy drinks,” said Mike Jackson, category manager for High’s. “We are expanding on other energy shot-type items that have more of a focus on actually providing something other than energy that could help in 2022, such as sleep aid and vitamin supplements.”
The Hartman Group’s health, wellness and functional ingredient research found that interest in emerging ingredients that are seen to enhance energy, such as nootropics, ashwagandha, maca and others, skews younger, reflecting a more exploratory approach to functional solutions among Generation Z and millennials.
Among consumers overall, 44% said they were interested in trying nootropics in their diet, the Hartman Group found. In addition, 43% said they were interested in ashwaghanda, and 46% expressed an interest in trying maca.